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The Why Behind the Mission: Supporting Mothers through Community and Maternal Mental Health Resource

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

Learn how one woman’s journey became a mission to help all mothers. Plus, join an inclusive community connecting mothers with maternal mental health resources and support.

During a sweltering summer heat wave in New York City, a seed was planted for what was to grow into Mission: Motherhood.

Jennifer Norris-Hale, mother and founder of Mission: Motherhood, was living her dream life in The Big Apple. She was in her twenties and had a thriving career with an office in the iconic Empire State Building.

Life in the big city was busy and exciting.

Jennifer had her first son during an intensely hot July. She spent nine months planning for a natural birth. But those plans would change.

After experiencing severe chest pains, Jennifer was rushed to the hospital. She labored eighteen hours through two failed inductions before having an emergency C-section.

Although this wasn’t the experience she planned on having, she glowed holding her happy baby boy in her arms. In those bonding moments, she noticed her son felt hot.

So, she did what any mother would and began to undress him so he’d cool down. And as she did, a nurse walked in saying the words that would imprint themselves in her thoughts…

“The mother is not fit… to have the baby in the room.”

And the nurse took her baby away to another room.

Stunned, Jennifer felt like she couldn’t bond with her son. As if she had done something awful.

“The mother is not fit. The mother is not fit.” The words looped in her thoughts.

Those thoughts spiraled into guilt about bonding with her newborn, the emergency c-section, and being unable to breastfeed.

Work became her escape.

It kept her busy enough to avoid her intense feelings as a new mother. These feelings were powerful, new, and hard to understand.

“The mother is not fit.”

At work one day, Jennifer’s anxiety peaked into a panic attack. Paramedics carried her out of the Empire State Building on a stretcher. And she was rushed to the E.R., where she was treated for dehydration.

All the while, the words kept repeating, “The mother is not fit… The mother is not fit.”

A few months later, Jennifer experienced her second panic attack. This time, she was at home with her son. An ambulance was called again.

In tears, she confessed to the paramedic…

“I feel overwhelmed. I don’t know how I can handle it.”

The paramedic empathetically responded, “As mothers, we can’t do everything. You need to take care of yourself.”

It was at that moment that Jennifer realized it was up to her. She had to be the one to take care of herself so that she could take care of her son.

A year after believing those haunting words, “The mother is not fit,” Jennifer was diagnosed with postpartum depression.

She didn’t know this was what she had been experiencing all along — the unshakable sadness that triggered feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety. She wondered how many other mothers didn’t know too.

In need of a change, Jennifer moved home to Fort Wayne, Indiana. She carried her story with her. It was an experience that would soon blossom into Mission: Motherhood.

Today, Jennifer is on a mission to help mothers get the support she didn’t get so that no mother walks alone. She’s passionate about speaking out about the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety and sharing resources for maternal mental health services.

Mission: Motherhood stands on a foundation of five pillars known as R.A.I.S.E.

1) Reverence: We build each other up. We give and receive acts of kindness with gratitude.

2) Awareness: We open the conversation around maternal mental health to all.

3) Inclusion: We welcome everyone to be a part of our village. All mothers need a

supportive community.

4) Support: We walk together. We understand each other.

5) Education: We know that the best learning comes from experience. We offer resources and a shoulder to lean on throughout the journey.

Mission: Motherhood believes in the power of sharing our stories around maternal mental health, including postpartum depression and anxiety — the wins, the challenges, and everything in between.

The vibrant voice of motherhood is loud and powerful.

It’s a voice that resonates far beyond the reach of postpartum depression.

Together, we reach even further.

And we can change the current maternal mental health statistics for good by ensuring all mothers have access to appropriate mental health care.

If you think you may be experiencing signs of postpartum depression and anxiety, reach out to someone you trust.

Tell a loved one how you’re feeling.

Your voice is powerful, and your well-being matters — for you, your child, and future generations.

If you know someone experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety, ask how they’re doing.

Let them know that you’re there for them. Let them know that they’re not alone.

According to WHO, “about 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression.”

We can change that statistic — one voice and one story at a time.

When we all know the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety, we can make a difference.

The more we share our stories, the more we raise awareness and connect mothers to vital maternal mental health services, community, and support.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. It’s true.

It’s also true that it takes a village to R.A.I.S.E. a mother.

And the mother is fit. Thanks to that village.

Join 500+ mothers sharing resources and support in Mission: Motherhood’s FREE Facebook group. We look forward to connecting with you and supporting you on your journey!


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